Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy World Giraffe Day 2018 and a song for the Summer Solstice

Happy World Giraffe Day!  For this year's celebration, I'm sharing three videos from Jacksonville University's The Science of... series about giraffe conservation.  First, What do Giraffes at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Eat?

What do giraffes eat - Watch a giraffe eat a whole banana, skin and all, and get a behind the scenes peek at preparing mixed herbs and alfalfa for the giraffe herd, as well as learn about some of the plants that the giraffes browse and graze on as they roam about their “African” Savanna at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
I can tell keepers Aree and LeShea really enjoy their work and love their charges.  That's good for both them and the giraffes.

Next, Giraffes... Duke and His Family Tree.

Forrest and Fiji are the youngest giraffes at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, and their dad, Duke, has sired 14 additional offspring. See these giraffes and learn a little bit about their family tree by mammal keeper LeShea Upchurch.
That was both cool and informative, but I wished they told the viewers what they did with the giraffes they didn't keep.  I assume the Jacksonville Zoo sends them to other zoos as part of the Reticulated Giraffe conservation plan.

Speaking of which, the final video about the giraffes at the Jacksonville Zoo is a science video, Endangered Giraffes... 4 species or 1?

Giraffe genetics, ossicones, coat spots and patterns, where endangered giraffes live, how many giraffe species there are, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens! Join Faraja the giraffe, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Conservation Program Officer, Lucas Meers, and Dr. Julian Fennessy, Co-director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to learn about giraffes, their plight, and what you can do to help!
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is the organization behind World Giraffe Day, so I think it's only appropriate that one of their directors appears in a video today.

Enough science.  How about some music for the Summer Solstice?  Here are Camille and Kennerly, better known as the Harp Twins, with Beneath the Midnight Sun (SUMMER SOLSTICE Original Song).

Happy Solstice!  Stay tuned for an entry about drum corps shows with speculative fiction themes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Happy American Eagle Day and an early National Seashell Day 2018

Happy American Eagle Day and an early National Seashell Day!  Here is the description of today's wildlife holiday from National Day Calendar.
Observed each year on June 20th is National American Eagle Day.  This day is set aside to honor our national symbol, raise awareness for protecting the Bald Eagle, assist in the recovery of their natural environments and take part in educational outreach.

The Bald Eagle is both the national bird and the national animal of the United States of America and appears on its Seal.

In the latter 20th century, the Bald Eagle was on the brink of extinction in the continental United States.  Eventually, populations recovered and on July 12, 1995, the species was removed from the U.S. Federal Government’s List of Endangered Species and transferred to the List of Threatened Species. On June 2007, it was withdrawn from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States.

The Bald Eagle’s range includes most of Canada, Alaska, all of the contiguous United States and northern Mexico.  They can be found near large bodies of open water where there is an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.

Opportunistic feeders, Bald Eagles survive mainly on fish, swooping down and snatching them from the water.  Their nests are the largest nests of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species. The largest recorded eagle’s nest was found in St. Petersburg, Florida.  It measured 9.5 feet in diameter and 20 feet deep.  It weighed in at nearly 3 tons.

The name “Bald Eagle” derives from an older meaning of “white headed” as the bird is actually not bald.  The adult eagle is mainly brown with a white head and tail.
Since I like videos, here is Dollywood Celebrates American Eagle Day from the American Eagle Foundation.

American Eagle Day is celebrated across our nation on June 20 every year. This year, it was celebrated at Dollywood on Saturday, June 16, during Chatter Reunion. In this video by WVLT, Channel 8, Laura Sterbens and Spencer Williams, along with Bald Eagle Mr. Lincoln preview the day's events.
I'm glad to see Dollywood, which I visited in 1981 when it was still Silver Dollar City, get into animal shows and conservation.  The park wasn't into such things when I visited, which was before Dolly Parton bought it.

Follow over the jump for my celebration of National Seashell Day, which I observe on the 20th regardless of the day the Summer Solstice falls because the day fell on the 20th when I first noticed it and because World Giraffe Day is always on the 21st.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Toast 'Black Panther' and 'Stranger Things' at the MTV Movie & TV Awards on National Martini Day 2018

I promised I would report on the winners of the MTV Movie and TV Awards.  MTV gave out the awards last night and "Black Panther" and "Stranger Things" were the big winners.  According to Entertainment Weekly, "Black Panther" and "Stranger Things" won four awards each.

I begin with ‘Black Panther’ Wins Best Movie.

Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan and Winston Duke of ‘Black Panther’ accept the award for Best Movie at 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards.
In addition to Best Movie, "Black Panther" won the following awards: Chadwick Boseman won Best Performance in a Movie and Best Hero while Michael B. Jordan won Best Villain.  Congratulations and Happy Juneteenth to the cast and crew of "Black Panther."

Next, The ‘Stranger Things 2’ Cast Accepts the Award for Best Show.

Finn Wolfhard, Sadie Sink, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp and Dacre Montgomery of ‘Stranger Things 2’ accept the award for Best Show for the second year in a row at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards.
In addition to Best Show, Millie Bobby Brown won Best Performance in a Show, Noah Schnapp won Most Frightened Performance, and "Stranger Things" won Best Musical Moment for Mike and Eleven dancing to "Every Breath You Take."  Congratulations!

While both Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan were able to take the stage to accept the award for "Black Panther," Millie Bobby Brown was not able to attend.  However, she was able to accept her award and gave a video acceptance in Millie Bobby Brown’s Anti-Bullying Message.

Millie Bobby Brown couldn’t make it to the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards because of her injury, but sends a message as she accepts the Best Performance in a Show award for ‘Stranger Things 2.’
Get well, Miss Brown!

Other speculative fiction winners included The Losers Club from "IT" for Best On-Screen Team, "Wonder Woman" for Best Fight, and Chris Pratt, who is starring in "Jurassic World 2" this weekend, receiving the Generation Award.  Honorable mention goes to Madelaine Petsch from "Riverdale" winning Scene Stealer for being in a comic book television show, even if it doesn't involve superheroes.

In addition to today being Juneteenth, it's also National Martini Day.  Follow over the jump for a toast to all the speculative fiction winners at the MTV Movie& TV Awards.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Oscars for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Normally, I'd wait until Thursday to post this retrospective about the most read entries examining the Oscars that I promised in Bill Nye represents The Resistance for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News, but this coming Thursday is World Giraffe Day and the Summer Solstice and Friday will be the day I post this year's drum corps shows with speculative fiction themes.  So, since those days are already spoken for and I didn't post a normal Sunday entertainment feature yesterday because of Father's Day, I'm posting it today.

Equal pay for equal work at the Oscars posted March 2, 2015 tied for 37th place overall with John Oliver on D.C. Statehood.  It earned 2304 page views during the last month of the seventh year of the blog, all of which were earned by sharing it at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page.  Those page views also made it the sixth most read entry during March 2018.  It ended the blogging year with 2613 total raw page views during the three years since it was originally posted.

The most read entry about this year's Oscars, at least according to raw page views, was 'Icarus' wins Best Documentary, making a political point at Putin's expense from March 7, 2018.  It earned 2142 raw page views between the time it was posted and March 20, 2018, enough to place it 42nd overall and 37th among entries actually posted during the seventh year of this blog.  It also placed ninth overall and third among entries posted during March 2018 with 2092 default and 2167 raw page views by the end of the month.  Nearly all of those page views came from being shared at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page.  It earned the most comments, five, for the month because of a brief flamewar between Nebris and Infidel 753.

Politics and diversity among Oscar nominated short subjects from March 10, 2018 earned 2107 raw page views in ten days, enough to land it in 44th overall and 39th among entries posted during the seventh year of this blog.  The entry also placed eighth overall and fourth among entries posted during March 2018 with 2094 default and 2125 raw page views.  Again, it earned most of its page views from being shared at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page.

The lowest ranked entry about this year's Oscars was also the first one I wrote and shared at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page, Diversity, representation, inclusion, and fantasy all winners at the 90th Academy Awards from March 6, 2018.  It ended the blogging year with 2086 raw page views, enough to place it 45th overall and 40th among entries posted between March 21, 2017 and March 20, 2018.  It was also the tenth most read overall and the fifth most read during March 2018, ending the month with 2053 default and 2099 raw page views.  Nearly all of those page views came from being shared at the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page.  In addition, it was the most popular post on Twitter during March with two likes, one retweet, and one reply.

The final entry I'm listing in today's retrospective is 'Wonder Woman' is already winning awards — for its trailer from June 11, 2018.  It's not about the Oscars but about the best movie of 2017 not to be nominated for an Academy Award.  I'm mentioning it here because it was about a movie winning an award and because the post had the most comments of any entry posted last year with eleven.

I have two more retrospectives planned in this series, one about comments, likes, shares, and pins and another about the back catalog.  I plan on posting those next week.

Follow over the jump for the linkspam of previous entries about entertainment and in this series.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Falling U.S. birth and fertility rates for Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!  Last year, I used Stephen Colbert to mock Alex Jones over his custody battle.  This year, as I wrote  in Life expectancy down for a second consecutive year in the U.S., I am "writing about the lower birth rate for Father's Day," even though that is usually considered a concern of mothers.

The least apprehensive and most thoughtful report I could find on the issue is The surprising thing about the declining U.S. birth rate from PBS NewsHour.

More than 3.8 million babies were born in the U.S. last year, but the birth rate drop was the largest one-year decline since 2010. Why hasn’t the downward trend changed direction, even though economic conditions have improved? Amna Nawaz explores some of the factors with Hans-Peter Kohler of the University of Pennsylvania.
Kohler is the calmest expert I've seen interviewed on this topic.  On the one hand, he's saying that there is no reason to panic just yet, as lots of well-off countries have even lower birth rates, so the U.S. is actually becoming more normal and that we are not yet at levels where low birth rates are a serious economic concern.  On the other hand, birth rates can drop far enough that they will cause problems that social policy can't fix.

In reality, it's not the birth rates that concern me; the graph above from Calculated Risk shows that, even adding in the drop between 2016 and 2017, total births were lower in 1997, not a time I recall widespread concern about not enough babies in the near future.  It's the fertility rate.  The graph below from Mother Jones shows it at a record low, well below replacement rate.  With an increased death rate and a lower immigration rate, that will cause the population of the U.S. to stop increasing sometime this century.

I have been in favor of zero population growth for as long as I can remember.  However, I'm not sure the U.S. economy is set up for a stable or slowly declining population, a point I made in the Hipcrime Vocab: Why Slowing Population Growth is a Problem.  We are going to have to figure how to do so.  Otherwise, I might live long enough to experience the wisdom of the saying "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Life expectancy down for a second consecutive year in the U.S.

I observed the following in a footnote to Anthony Bourdain's and Kate Spade's deaths call attention to rising suicide rates in the U.S..
All this reminds me that I haven't updated my readers on U.S. life expectancy falls prompting Russian analogies from 2016.  U.S. life expectancy fell a second consecutive year in 2016 and likely fell again in 2017.  The last time that happened in the U.S., it was because of the Spanish Flu during 1916-1918.  I plan on writing about both the drop in life expectancy as well as the falling birth rate next week.  Stay tuned.
I also mentioned that "Saturday is still this week" in Business Insider on dead malls in the Retail Apocalypse with assistance from Dan Bell and Radiohead, so it's time to make a down payment on that promise with Opioids driving down U.S. life expectancy from CBS News.*

Life expectancy in the U.S. has declined for the second year in a row, and opioid drug-related deaths are partially responsible, according to the CDC. Washington Post health reporter Lenny Bernstein joins CBSN to discuss.
Looks like I will have to blog some more about the opoid crisis outside of nominees and winners for awards shows.  At least my entertainment entries serve some serious purpose!

As I wrote above, life expectancy is likely to decline for a third year in a row.  From the Tech Times article I linked to above.
Last year, the death rate rose making 2017 the third straight year of decline in the American life expectancy rate, preliminary data suggests. On Wednesday, May 23rd, the Centers for Disease and Control posted numbers online that claim the death rates in America rose due to Alzheimer's Disease, diabetes, the flu, pneumonia, and three other causes.
That's the bad news.  The article also had some good news.
Despite this current epidemic, the good news is that the death rate for cancer continues to drop. Cancer, which is considered the nation's second "killer," fell 2 percent in 2016. The heart disease rate also fell. However, the percentage it dropped to was 0.3 percent.

Experts believe that the nation's growing obesity rate could be one of the major factors in heart disease rate decline. Death rates attributed to HIV and blood infections also declined.
I'll be sure to report on the final numbers for 2017, which should come out at the end of the year.

*I'll pay the rest of my promise tomorrow, when I plan on writing about the lower birth rate for Father's Day.  Stay tuned.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bill Nye represents The Resistance for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Yesterday, I wrote "The next entry will be about Bill Nye and The Resistance" and that I would post it today.  Time to follow through.

The 43rd most read entry of the seventh year of this blog and the 38th most read actually posted during the blogging year is Bill Nye cited the Constitution to justify the March for Science on Colbert's show from May 9, 2017 with 2120 raw page views.  It was also the most read entry during June 2017 with 1874 default page views.

The entry had 83 page views before being shared at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page on June 1, 2017.  It earned 974 page views in the first two hours after being shared and 1782 in the first 24 hours.  It maxed out at 1957 default and 2063 raw page views at 7:59 P.M. on June 7, 2017.

When I wrote "I will be serving political leftovers" this week, this is one of the items I was planning on warming up.

By the way, here is Bill Nye at Huge Science March Crowd “Science Must Shape Policy!” from Climate State where he cites that section of the Constitution.

On Earth Day, April 22, Bill Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society, also known as “The Science Guy,” spoke in front of large crowd in Washington DC.
He didn't start saying that on Colbert.

The next retrospective will be about the Oscars.  I will post that next week.  Stay tuned.

Previous retrospective about The Resistance. Previous entries about the top posts of the seventh year of this blog.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Vox on Spygate updates 'Trump's...vulnerability for conspiracy theories,' a top post for the seventh year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

The 27th most read entry of the seventh year of this blog was Trump's wiretapping claim shows his vulnerability for conspiracy theories from March 6, 2017.*  It finished the blogging year with 3235 total raw page views, 377 of which were earned before March 21, 2017, so 2858 of them belonged to the seventh year.  It was also the second most read entry during April 2017 with 2634 default page views during the month.

Before I describe how this entry earned its readership, I'll let Vox update the story with Trump invented a fake spy scandal. People will still believe it.

It's a tactic the president has used before, and it works.
President Trump calls it calls it “spygate:” the allegation that the FBI and democrats put a spy in his campaign to help Hillary Clinton. It’s not true.

Top [R]epublicans like Speaker Paul Ryan have even disputed the president. But even though it’s a conspiracy theory, millions of Americans will still believe it. It’s a playbook he has used before.

“Spygate” is an attempt to delegitimize the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. If the American people lose trust in them, they won’t believe whatever the investigation finds. It’s working.
Some things just don't change.

This entry gained readers in two stages.  In the first stage, I shared this entry at the political and anti-Trump groups and communities on Facebook and Google+ during the first week in March.  Infidel 753 also linked to it as his blog.  Those plus persistent web search were enough to earn this entry 349 page views, 377 according to the raw counter, during March, placing it sixth, fifth among entries posted during March.  Before I shared the entry at the Coffee Party Facebook page on April 3rd at 11:00 P.M. E.D.T., it had a total of 357 page views, 394 according to the raw counter.  During the second stage, the entry earned nearly 2500 page views in the first 24 hours after being shared.  It also helped attract 6,723 page views to the blog that day.  The entry maxed out at 2897 page views, 3000 according to the raw counter, on March 5, 2017.

The next entry will be about Bill Nye and The Resistance.  I plan on posting that tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Follow over the jump for the footnote and a linkspam of previous entries in this series.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Business Insider on stores closing in the Retail Apocalypse

I am fulfulling my promise to "have more on Business Insider on the retail apocalypse with an emphasis on stores instead of malls" to conclude Business Insider on dead malls in the Retail Apocalypse with assistance from Dan Bell and Radiohead with two graphs and a video.

First, Business Insider reported last September that more than 6,400 stores were shutting down in 2017.  In true "a picture is worth 1000 words" fashion, they presented the data visually.

I wrote yesterday that I would write about the demise of Payless.  This graphic shows that Radio Shack is another famous chain I need to examine.  Once again, Retail Archeology has videos, which I will use when I post that follow-up.

The third company closing lots of stores is Ascena Retail Group.  I didn't know who they were, but I did know some of the chains they own, including Ann Taylor, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, and Loft.  I might suggest Retail Archeology look at them.  He already has a video about Claire's.

Next, Business Insider followed up this April by reporting more than 3,800 stores will close in 2018.  The following graph displays the affected chains.

Both J.C. Penney and Macy's closed more stores last year than Sears and are still closing stores this year, but fewer than Sears both this year and overall.  That doesn't mean they're immune from my eye.  I'll look at both of them in the future as well.

Speaking of Sears, Business Insider also has a a video that goes along with  Part 1 and Part 2 of Sears, a tale of the retail apocalypse, We Went Inside A Sears And Saw Why The Company Is Dying.

We visited a Sears in Jersey City, New Jersey to see why the company is imploding. We were shocked by the dismal conditions on a Tuesday afternoon.

When asked for comment Sears spokesperson Howard Riefs responded with the following: "Some areas of this particular Sears store are in seasonal transition and other areas are in the midst of project work. For example, we recently moved the men’s department to the lower level and are in the process of replacing the carpeting in the former denim section. Nevertheless, the described images from this store are not representative of the majority of our Sears locations and do not depict what we want our members and customers to experience. We take these matters seriously and this store’s team has already begun addressing the issues. We hope your video depicts a comprehensive look at this store, which includes our all-new Showcase area featuring top international apparel, footwear and accessory brands that are debuting in America exclusively at Sears."
Yikes!  That's worse than anything Retail Archeology showed!

That's it for tales of the Retail Apocalypse for now.  Stay tuned for two more retrospectives of the seventh year of this blog tomorrow and Friday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Business Insider on dead malls in the Retail Apocalypse with assistance from Dan Bell and Radiohead

I found a shiny object from Business Insider that gives another take on Vox on America's dying malls as failed third spacesReasons Why Malls Across The US Are Closing Down More Than Ever.

The American shopping mall is in a crisis. One of the largest malls in Pennsylvania, the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, sold for just $100. We explore the variety of reasons why malls cannot keep their stories afloat and are becoming vacant wastelands.
Hey, a mall that sold for $100?  I've seen something about that, Dan Bell's DEAD MALL SERIES : The $100 Mall : The Disaster of Pittsburgh Mills.

Bell provided some telling details about the mall and its sale.  It was built in 2005, so it was already late to the party.  No wonder it never filled up and eventually failed.  Good luck to Wells Fargo and getting its money back; they'll need it.

Bell also showed a Payless store closing down.  I'll have to cover Payless in a future installment of this series.  Fortunately, Retail Archeology has a video about it, which I'll post when I write that episode.

Finally, Dan Bell mentioned Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees," so I'm going to post a video of the song.  Here is Ramin Djawadi's cover from the "Westworld" Season 1 soundtrack.

I couldn't resist referencing "Westworld" while Season 2 is airing.

I'll have more on Business Insider on the retail apocalypse with an emphasis on stores instead of malls tomorrow.  Stay tuned.*

*For my readers who expected me to write about "both the drop in life expectancy as well as the falling birth rate," which I promised in a footnote to Anthony Bourdain's and Kate Spade's deaths call attention to rising suicide rates in the U.S., Saturday is still this week.  Look for it then.